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Parliamentary questions
PDF 39kWORD 10k
10 March 2020
Priority question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Laura Huhtasaari
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Review of political relations between the EU and Turkey on account of the hybrid operation by Turkey

In 2016, the EU and Turkey concluded an agreement on refugees under which Turkey undertook, in return for six billion euros in EU support, to halt illegal immigration into the EU from its territory, and to take back all individuals who had entered the EU illegally from Turkey. However, last year alone, Turkey allowed 60 000 people to cross Greece’s terrestrial and maritime borders illegally and in return took back only 189 persons from Greece. EU countries, for their part, accepted more than 25 000 Syrians from Turkey in 2016–2019 as quota refugees.

In addition to the financial aid provided for by the EU-Turkey refugee agreement, Turkey has received large sums in EU pre-accession support since 2007. For the period 2007–2020, the EU has budgeted EUR 20 billion in pre-accession support for Turkey. Although the purpose of this aid was to help Turkey to move towards European standards of democracy and the rule of law, the trend in Turkey has been rather in the opposite direction, towards Islamist authoritarianism.

Turkey’s President Erdogan has launched a hybrid operation on the border between Greece and Turkey by encouraging third-country nationals living in Turkey to go to the Greek border and seek to enter the EU illegally. By openly breaching the agreement, Erdogan has sought to extort additional funds from the EU to pay for the maintenance of foreigners in his country and, inter alia, to promote negotiations on visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish nationals.

It is clear that political relations between the EU and Turkey cannot continue on the same basis as before, in view of Turkey’s hostile hybrid action. As a counter-measure, the EU should suspend all payments to Turkey from the EU budget and consider imposing commercial sanctions on the country.

Will the Commission propose halting pre-accession support payments to Turkey and payments provided for by the EU-Turkey refugee agreement, and will it discuss with the EU Member States the possible imposition of commercial sanctions on Turkey because it has conducted a hybrid operation at its border with Greece?

Original language of question: FI
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